Rapid prototyping is a set of industrial techniques aimed at making a so-called prototype. Regardless of how you make it, prototype means “the first item in the series.” These can be conceptual, functional, technical, or preproduction, and in each case can serve different functions in the company: they can be used to assess cost, cycle time, market response, and so on.

Because of the above, processes have been developed with the goal of reducing both the cost of making and the construction time of the prototype itself; these techniques are referred to as rapid prototyping (abbreviated as RP) or rapid prototyping.
Rapid prototyping differs from traditional machining techniques because while the latter operate by removal of material, that is, they obtain the desired shape from a block within which it already exists, RP techniques operate on an inverse conceptual basis, that is, by addition of material, with the possibility of being able to obtain even very complex shapes, impossible to achieve with traditional machining, by simply adding material layer by layer. In fact, it is referred to as layered manufacturing.